Can You Paint Shower Tile and How To: A Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Your Bathroom

Bob Thomas

Introduction

If you're tired of your outdated shower tiles but don't want to go through the hassle and expense of a complete renovation, painting them might be the perfect solution.

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of painting shower tiles, providing you with all the information you need to achieve a professional-looking finish.

So, let's dive in!

Quick Summary

Yes, you can paint shower tile! To do so, follow these steps: 1) Clean the tiles, 2) Repair any damaged tiles, 3) Sand the tiles, 4) Apply a high-adhesion primer, 5) Paint the tiles with epoxy paint, and 6) Seal the tiles with a waterproof clear coat. With patience, the right tools, and a bit of skill, you can give your bathroom a fresh new look.

Clean the Tiles

Start by thoroughly cleaning the tiles to remove any dirt, soap scum, and mildew.

Use a solution of water and mild detergent or a tile cleaner specifically designed for bathroom use.

Scrub the tiles with a stiff-bristle brush or sponge, then rinse with clean water and let them dry completely.

Pro Tip: For stubborn stains or mildew, use a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part bleach. Be sure to wear gloves and ventilate the area well.

Repair Damaged Tiles

Inspect the tiles for any cracks, chips, or loose grout.

If you find any damaged areas, repair them before proceeding.

Fill small cracks or chips with a waterproof tile filler, and re-grout any loose areas.

Sand the Tiles

Using a 180-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the surface of the tiles to create a slightly rough texture.

This will help the primer adhere better. After sanding, wipe the tiles with a damp cloth to remove any dust.

Apply a High-Adhesion Primer

Use a high-adhesion, water-resistant primer specifically designed for tile surfaces.

Apply the primer using a high-quality synthetic brush or a foam roller, making sure to cover the entire surface of the tiles.

Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions, usually 24 hours.

Paint the Tiles with Epoxy Paint

Choose a two-part epoxy paint suitable for tile surfaces.

Epoxy paints are durable, waterproof, and resistant to mold and mildew, making them ideal for shower tiles.

Mix the epoxy paint according to the manufacturer's instructions and apply it using a high-quality synthetic brush or a foam roller.

Apply at least two coats, allowing the paint to dry between coats as per the manufacturer's guidelines.

Pro Tip: If you're unsure about the final color, test a small, inconspicuous area of the tiles before committing to the entire shower.

Seal the Tiles with a Waterproof Clear Coat

To protect the painted tiles and ensure a long-lasting finish, apply a waterproof clear coat.

Use a clear, water-resistant sealer specifically designed for use on painted tiles.

Apply the sealer with a brush or roller, following the manufacturer's instructions for drying time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is it safe to paint shower tiles, or will it damage them?

  A: It is safe to paint shower tiles as long as you follow the proper steps and use the appropriate materials.

By using high-adhesion primer, epoxy paint, and a waterproof clear coat, you can achieve a durable, long-lasting finish without damaging the tiles.

Q. Can I paint over ceramic or porcelain tiles?

  A: Yes, both ceramic and porcelain tiles can be painted, provided that you follow the appropriate steps and use suitable materials.

The process outlined in the article is suitable for both types of tiles.

Q. How long does the paint last on shower tiles?

  A: The longevity of the paint depends on the quality of the materials used and the application process.

If you use high-quality epoxy paint, apply a waterproof clear coat, and follow the proper steps, the paint can last several years. 

However, it's essential to maintain and clean the painted tiles regularly to ensure the finish remains in good condition.

Q. Can I use regular latex paint for shower tiles?

  A: It's not recommended to use regular latex paint for shower tiles.

Instead, use a two-part epoxy paint specifically designed for tile surfaces.

Epoxy paint is more durable, waterproof, and resistant to mold and mildew, making it more suitable for shower tiles.

Q. Can I paint the grout lines along with the tiles?

  A: Yes, you can paint the grout lines along with the tiles. However, if you prefer a different color for the grout lines, you can use a grout pen or grout paint after painting the tiles and sealing them with a clear coat.

Q. How long should I wait before using the shower after painting the tiles?

  A: It's essential to allow the paint and clear coat to cure fully before using the shower.

The drying time for each product can vary, so refer to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Generally, it's best to wait at least 48-72 hours after applying the final coat before using the shower.

Q. What precautions should I take while painting shower tiles?

  A: When painting shower tiles, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask.

Additionally, use drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect the surrounding surfaces from spills and drips.

Q. Can I paint over natural stone tiles, such as marble or granite?

  A: Painting natural stone tiles is more challenging due to their porous nature and unique patterns.

While it is possible to paint them, you'll need to use a specialized primer, paint, and sealer designed for natural stone.

Keep in mind that painting natural stone tiles may alter their appearance and decrease their value.

Conclusion

With a bit of patience and the right materials, you can successfully paint your shower tiles and give your bathroom a fresh new look.

Just remember to follow each step carefully and use high-quality products to ensure a durable and professional-looking finish. 

Suggested Products:  

  1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer: This primer is specifically designed for tough-to-paint surfaces, including shower tiles. It ensures proper adhesion of the paint to the tile surface, creating a durable and long-lasting finish.
  1. Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit: This two-part epoxy paint kit is perfect for painting shower tiles. It provides a durable, waterproof finish that resists mold, mildew, and other common bathroom issues, ensuring a long-lasting and attractive result.
  2. ScotchBlue Painter's Tape: Using this painter's tape helps create clean, sharp lines when painting your shower tiles. It is designed to resist moisture and adhere well to various surfaces, making it perfect for use in bathroom projects.
  3. Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush: This angled paintbrush is ideal for painting shower tiles, as it allows for precise application in tight spaces and around fixtures. The short, flexible handle provides excellent control while working in confined areas.
  4. Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold: This high-performance, water-based sealer is perfect for sealing painted shower tiles. It offers excellent stain protection and enhances the durability of the paint, ensuring your shower tiles remain in great condition for years to come.
  5. Grout Pen or Grout Renew: These products are designed specifically for renewing or changing the color of grout lines. They provide a quick and easy way to refresh the grout lines after painting your shower tiles and can help achieve a consistent, polished look.
  6. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: These cloths are essential for maintaining and cleaning your painted shower tiles. They can be used for gentle cleaning without scratching the painted surface, helping to keep your tiles looking fresh and new.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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